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Very Nearly The Beginning...  by Grey Wonderer

Minis Tirith, in the year 1484

“You know this stuffed rabbit?” Merry asked in surprise. He and Pippin were now looking at Arwen.

“I do indeed,” she smiled. “My Ada gave him to me when I was a very little girl. I thought that he was lost but I see instead that he was merely travelling a bit.” As she spoke she continued stroking the stuffed grey rabbit's ears tenderly.

“Errol can’t be that old!” Pippin blurted out.

Awen laughed as Pippin blushed realizing what he had just said. “Well, I mean, he’s a stuffed Rabbit. He can’t have lasted all those years and still look so, well, so new. He never seems to wear out like other toys do and he’s been through my rather adventurous childhood and then through Merry’s son’s childhood yet he’s held up quite well. Still, I hardly think that it would be possible for him to have been your Rabbit too,” Pippin said. He sounded slightly territorial as he often did when speaking about Errol or Merry. As far as Pippin was concerned the stuffed rabbit could not possibly have belonged to anyone else.

Arwen smiled. “See the small tag.” She held the rabbit over for Pippin's inspection and extended the tag, which he had never bothered to read. Merry suspected that it was because Pippin had always regarded Errol as more than a toy. The tag would have seemed unimportant to him.

Pippin leaned forward and looked intently at it squinting slightly. His eye sight was not what it had once been but it was still keen enough for close reading. Merry was also leaning over and looking. “What does it say, Pip?” he asked.

“How should I know? It’s,” Pippin paused and then looked at Arwen in amazement. “It’s Elvish!”

Arwen nodded, smiling.

“Errol is your Rabbit then?” Pippin frowned looking like he had just lost his dearest friend. Well, his dearest stuffed friend at least.

“He *was* my Rabbit a very long time ago,” Arwen smiled. She looked lovingly at the toy. “He is your Rabbit now and I would not part him from you. My time with him is long past and though it is very good to see him again, he is not mine any longer.”

Pippin looked at her with relief and she handed Errol back to him. “It's only that I have grown used to Errol being mine,” he said still slightly embarrassed. “I know it is also past time for an old Hobbit like me to have a stuffed rabbit but I do think that he belongs with me for a while yet.” He looked down at the grey bunny. Merry reached over and placed a hand on Pippin’s shoulder.

“Exactly my thoughts,” Merry said gently.

“May I ask what his name was when you had him?” Pippin ventured.

Arwen leaned over to whisper in Pippin’s ear and at first she spoke in Elvish. Pippin listened intently. She was also kind enough to translate the meaning of the name for him, since he did not understand enough Elvish to translate it himself. He looked at her thoughtfully and then nodded in approval. “Really?”

“Yes, that was his name when he was my rabbit,” she said.

Pippin studied the rabbit. “That certainly seems to suit him but I don’t think that I could learn to call him that.”

“I actually prefer Errol now that I hear it,” Arwen said.

“What *was* his name, Pip?” Merry asked looking interested.

Pippin smiled mysteriously. He would tell Merry later but not just yet. The secret was far too delicious not to keep for a while longer.

“Well?” Merry insisted.

“His name is Errol,” Pippin said looking slightly cheeky. “Now, if you’ve no more foolish questions, Meriadoc I’d like to find out if Strider has anything prepared for luncheon. I’m hungry.”

“ Fine,” Merry agreed, giving the King a long suffering look and then sighing deeply. “I have never been one to delay a meal. I am more than ready to fill up my corners. I am very sure that there is an excellent story behind all of this but it can wait until I am properly fed.” He glanced at the rabbit and muttered softly rolling his eyes, “An Elvish stuffed Rabbit.”

And so he was. But that is another story for another time...

*********This is a slightly altered portion of "Freddy and The Thain's Rabbit" which was originally written for Marigold's Challenge 30 and which was Beta'd by Marigold. (Any mistakes found within this excerpt are due to my slight revision of the text and are not to be blamed on the beta.)

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